Texas

Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

Last year Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush fired the people in charge of running the Alamo, one of Texas’s most hallowed tourist destinations. The group, known as the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, had managed the monument for more than a century.

Shelby Knowles / Texas Tribune

The Texas Governor’s office seems to have a problem appointing replacements to state boards and commissions in a timely manner. According to The Texas Tribune, the state now has 336 holdover appointees. Those are people whose terms have expired but whose replacements have not been named.

Laura Buckman / Texas Tribune

Recent efforts to prevent suicide in Texas are focusing on the state’s small towns, reports The Texas Tribune. The Tribune recently analyzed Texas death records from 2004 to 2013. The paper found that the rate of suicide is 15 percent higher in counties with an urban population of less than 20,000 people than it is in more metropolitan counties.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

Health advocates cheered this week when Oklahoma officials announced they were considering expanding Medicaid in that state. Oklahoma has been missing out on millions of federal health care dollars with its decision to not participate in the Affordable Care Act. But with ballooning budget problems and rising health care costs in the state, opting out no longer seems viable. And that means Texas could be next, reports member station KUT.

Tom Fox / Dallas Morning News

Last weekend The Dallas Morning News reprinted in full a New York Times article about what it means to be a Texan in the 21st century. The essay read, in part, “[Texans] believe that their way of life is under assault and that they are making a kind of last stand by simply being Texan.”

Tim Patterson / Texas Tribune

Americans are moving to Texas from other states in droves, reports The Texas Tribune. From 2005 to 2013, almost six million people moved to Texas, and five million of those came from one of the other 49 states. That means Texas grew by an average of 345 people per day during that period—and the influx hasn’t abated.

Kin Man Hui / San Antonio Express-News via AP

The once-fringe Texas secession movement is gaining ground, and has become a priority for some conservative grass-roots Texans. A new Washington Post article reports that when Texas Republicans assemble for their state convention next month, it’s possible they’ll debate whether to secede. The Post makes clear that there’s little chance secession will actually happen.

Texas Tribune

After months of scrutiny and controversy, the foster care system in Texas appears to be worsening instead of improving, according to The Texas Tribune. Abused children are being left in psychiatric facilities far past the eight to 10 days covered by Medicaid. In fact, that’s an understatement: As of August, children were being held for an average of 768 days.

Chan Lone / Texas Tribune

Late last year a federal judge ordered the State of Texas to reform its foster care laws. U.S. District Judge Janis Jack of Corpus Christi claimed the Texas foster care system violated children's civil rights by subjecting them to rampant neglect and abuse. Judge Jack appointed special “masters” to oversee the reforms, reports The Texas Tribune. The masters are expected to study the system and recommend changes.

politico.com

In 2015, the first full year after Texas enacted tough new regulations on abortion clinics, there were 9,000 fewer abortions performed in the state, reports The Christian Science Monitor. The Supreme Court has called the tightening of abortion access in Texas a “controlled experiment” for the enacting of similar laws in other states.

Texas Bluebonnets

Mar 15, 2016

Bluebonnets don’t bloom very long, but when they do they are the highlight of a trip to Texas.  We’ll look at ways to try and ‘grow your own’, giving them  lots of sun and not much water. But the best way to experience bluebonnets is to travel down to Central Texas in March and April and take in the native wildflowers as they carpet the roadways.

ANC News

The website onlyinyourstate.com recently published a list of fascinating Texas facts that you probably didn’t learn in school. For example, did you know the Ferris wheel at the Texas State Fair in Dallas is the largest in the Western hemisphere? Or that El Paso is closer to the city of Needles, California, than it is to Dallas, Texas? How about that the last battle of the Civil War was fought in Texas?

Texas Policy Evaluation Project and Whole Woman’s Health / The New York Times

No one questions that the number of abortion facilities in Texas has dropped in recent years. In 2013 the Texas legislature passed a law that, among other things, required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The law led to the number of clinics in the Lone Star State being reduced by half. Challengers to the law contend that the law is unnecessary and draconian.

Texas History Center

Member station KUT recently took a closer look at the confusion surrounding the Texas Constitution. The mystery lies in the fact that, even after 180 years, Texas still doesn't technically have a constitution in effect. That’s because, while Texas has had many versions of its constitution, the state has never formally recognized any of them. Texas seemed to have finally enacted one in 1876, over 30 years after joining the United States.

Jae S. Lee / Dallas Morning News

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is in hot water again, this time over his same-sex marriage ruling last year. According to The Texas Tribune, the Texas State Bar has launched a disciplinary probe into Paxton’s conduct in the days following the US Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex unions. In a Feb. 2 letter, the State Board of Disciplinary Appeals directed the State Bar to investigate “possible violations” of professional conduct by the Attorney General.

Aaron Keller was born and raised in Pampa, TX. He always seemed to have a passion for motorcycles. This passion led him to joining the Bandito Motorcycle Club. In the club, Keller found himself in the position of president for two different regions. Keller found the club contradictory to his Christian beliefs, but he continued in the club. Keller began feeling like the club was ruining his life and his marriage. His wife had filed for divorce without him knowing. Through his pastor’s support, and the prayers of many people, Keller was able to restore his marriage.

You know, there’s a particular line in Thoreau’s “Walden” where it says,

“I do not wish to be anymore busy with my hand than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it.”

Jennifer Sugg was a 16-year-old color guard when she found out that she was expecting a little baby girl. Unaware of what the future would hold, Jennifer was forced to face reality and make a decision that would affect the life of her as well as her sweet baby girl, Kaitlin. After months of Jennifer Sugg was a 16-year-old color guard when she found out that she was expecting a little baby girl. Unaware of what the future would hold, Jennifer was forced to face reality and make a decision that would affect the life of her as well as her sweet baby girl, Kaitlin.

Little Known Facts About the Texas Constitution

Dec 7, 2015
aswinkb / Creative Commons

NPR newsmagazine Texas Standard published some interesting facts about the Texas state constitution this week. For example, many Texans believe that the Lone Star State has a constitutional right to secede from the U.S. whenever it feels like it. This is a myth.

John Savage / Texas Observer

12 out of every 10,000 Texans are living homeless, reports Texas Standard. And a lot of these have intellectual disabilities. For many homeless, wait times for state services have proven daunting. When it comes to helping those with intellectual disabilities, Texas consistently falls near the bottom in state rankings.

Mose Buchele

Texas’s state nut is looking to make a comeback. Pecans were all the rage in the 60s, but then the almond took over. Since then, the US almond crop has grown 33-fold. But now, StateImpact Texas reports that things are looking up for the Lone Star staple. The USDA has allowed the pecan industry to start something called a “federal marketing order.” This will allow pecan producers to pool their money and market their product.

Texas Minority Home Ownership Lags Far Behind Whites

Nov 12, 2015
Jolie McCullough / U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey

Texas minorities are less likely than white Texans to own their homes, reports The Texas Tribune. The state’s largest metro areas have some of the most substantial racial disparities among homeowners in the nation, according to U.S. Census data.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

In the wake of Texas's announcement that bit plans to build a massive gold bullion depository, major international precious metal firms are vying for a piece of the action, reports The Texas Tribune.

Tim Gruber / New York Times

The New York Times reported last week on a growing problem in the US: States are struggling with what to do with sex offenders once they are released from prison. Minnesota has been detaining its sex offenders in a treatment facility after releasing them from prison, but a federal judge recently found the practice unconstitutional.

Ross Ramsey / Texas Tribune

Earlier this month, a Houston-area mother took to social media to complain about a caption in her child’s Social Studies textbook that described African slaves as immigrant “workers,” reports The Texas Tribune.

Patrick Michels / Texas Observer

Texans are being forced to wait longer to receive abortions than ever before, according to The Texas Observer. The number of abortion providers in Texas has fallen from 41 down to 18 since Republican lawmakers passed a restrictive law in 2013.

A Texas Storyteller Laments Change

Oct 2, 2015
QuesterMark / Flickr Creative Commons

Texas raconteur WF Strong recently lamented changing times in Texas on the NPR newsmagazine Texas Standard. The former Fulbright Scholar noted that we used to stay in the truck to get gas and go inside to eat. Now we get out to pump gas and sit in the truck to eat. Only one in five Texans are rural anymore. Small farms are disappearing, replaced by commercial farms where tractors never sleep. Today teenagers are happier cruising the net than cruising around town, opined Strong.

Stephen Graham Jones

This week, the third and final finalist for the 2015 Texas Observer Short Story Contest was posted on the Observer’s website. The story, “Hands Moving Through Hair” by Rebecca Wurtz, joins the two previous selections, K.C.

JD Lamb / Texas Tribune

The Texas Nationalist Movement is attempting to get a non-binding vote onto March’s GOP primary ballot over whether Texas should secede from the United States. To reach this goal, the Nederland-based group has been circulating a petition. The group’s aim is to obtain 75,000 signatures from registered voters by Dec. 1.

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Texas continues to see sales tax revenues decline. The Austin American-Statesman notes that the drop is linked to struggles in the state’s energy sector. August revenues were down .4 percent compared to the same time a year ago. Over the past six months, the state’s sales tax revenue collection has generally been slowing down.

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